Robert Lewandowski believes playing under Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich represented the ideal preparation for his move to Barcelona, as he compared Blaugrana boss Xavi to his former coach.
Guardiola was one year into a three-season tenure with the Bavarian giants when Lewandowski joined from rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2014, with the striker scoring 67 goals in 100 appearances under him in all competitions.
Having ended his Bayern career with 344 goals in all competitions, Lewandowski – one of several new faces at Camp Nou – scored for the first time in Barca colours three minutes into Sunday’s 6-0 friendly thrashing of Pumas UNAM.
As Xavi looks to lead Barca to a title challenge in his first full season at the helm, Lewandowski identified similarities between with Manchester City manager Guardiola.
Lewandowski told Sport:
“Guardiola’s philosophy and his style of caring for and managing the team, I think, basically was Barca at Bayern Munich.
“Xavi is very similar to Guardiola. They were both ‘sixes’, they worked together. They think about football in the same way.
“With that memory in mind, Barca was the only option for me, and it was a great preparation when I was there.
“I didn’t talk to Guardiola before signing. But when I was with him at Bayern, it was like a great preparation to get to Barca one day.
“All the staff were Spanish, there were eight Spanish players. During that period, I had a very good relationship with Thiago [Alcantara] and Javi Martinez. Both of them congratulated me when I signed for Barca.”
Lewandowski made his desire to leave Bayern clear on several occasions before finalising a move to Camp Nou and has reiterated his €45million transfer was primarily motivated by a wish to test himself in Spain.
“I feel like a small child who enters a huge store of new toys.
“What I feel in Barcelona so far is pure happiness and motivation to start this new chapter.
“In Munich, I was missing new challenges. I won many titles and I recognise that I felt less and less intensity. I needed another challenge, a boost, a change of environment.
“I’ve always wanted to play in LaLiga, live in Spain, see what life is like here. Twelve years in Germany is a long time.
“I achieved everything there. I didn’t want to stand in front of the mirror in 12 years and say to myself: ‘Why haven’t you tried?’ There would be a lot of unanswered questions.”
Lewandowski will hope to make his competitive Barcelona debut when they host Rayo Vallecano in their LaLiga opener on Saturday, with president Joan Laporta confident the Blaugrana will be able to register their new arrivals despite ongoing financial concerns.
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